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New Computer...a few questions

by Legend7 / April 8, 2007 6:16 AM PDT

I am getting a new computer for my high school graduation and I have a few questions about it. First of all, I would like to say that I have a fear of building one myself, so I am planning on ordering it from alienware. Also, price is not an issue in this.

One of my problems, is when I am customizing at their site, I am limited to either 7,200 RPM 3GB/s hard drives, or 10,000 1.5Gb/s. I don't understand how the GB/s speed affects the computer, but I was wondering if 10,000 is better, and how much better is it? Also, I was doing some research, and found some 15,000 RPM drives that could hold upwards of 100gb. I have yet to use more than 40gb on my computer, so I want to know if that is an option for me. (I could just purchase a cheap hard drive with the computer, then install a 15,000 RPM one. I also don't know how compatible these are...

Another question I have is, should I go with AMD or Intel? AMD appears to be cheaper. I have heard that it has better performance than even a quad-core intel processor, but I am wondering if it actually is?

Finally, computers are constantly being upgraded, and I know that this machine will be obsolete the day after I order it. However, I am curious about the timing of my order. Is there any big reason for me to wait a couple of months? I have heard about a quad-core AMD processor coming out later on this year, but at the same time, I'm sure that at that point there will be another new technology that will be predicted a few months down the line. Is it worth it for me to buy this now, or should I wait?

Thanks in advance for any replies, it is greatly appreciated. (I'm sorry about any grammar mistakes I may have made.)

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A few answers....
by steve749 / April 8, 2007 6:27 AM PDT

1) I would highly suggest doing some research on Alienware and the various stories from folks that have had issues with Alienware. If price isn't really an issue then look at VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, and Cyberpower for a few other places where you may do better.

2) Better really depends on how you value certain things. There is the seek time on a drive and its power consumption to give a couple of elements that can compete so that a faster spinning drive will consume more power and possibly generate more heat. I have a couple 7200 RPM drives and think they are fine for what I need.

3) On the AMD vs. Intel, the Intel Core 2 Duos generally are the tops in performance and so this would be my suggestion. Again, better performance depends a lot on which benchmark you want to use and there are plenty of charts over on Tom's Hardware if you want to look more into that.

4) There is an Intel price cut coming as well as new cards from nVidia later this month as well as the new Intel Bearlake chipset for desktops that you can research to determine if that is worth waiting for or not.

Regards,
JB

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Links about.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 8, 2007 6:34 AM PDT
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alienware
by Legend7 / April 8, 2007 7:47 AM PDT

Wow, thanks for the replies guys. So, it looks like I won't be settling with alienware. I'll look into some of the alternatives that you listed. Once again, I appreciate the help, I may post more questions in a few minutes though Silly

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Cyberpowerpc
by Legend7 / April 8, 2007 8:38 AM PDT

jbking, you are awesome! I went to cyberpowerpc, and set up a computer that is nicer than what I was getting at alienware, for a cheaper price. While I have been customizing this system though, I have come across a problem. I don't understand how the watts work with the computer. Ex. the site sells an 1100 watt power supply, yet on towers they only say up to 420 watts. I don't know if that is a limit of what you can put into the tower. Basically, I want to know if I can put an 1100 watt power supply into a 350 watt case, or if I should buy the case separately.

P.S. The reviews on this site are making me a little nervous, I hope that this is primarily due to shipping problems?

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with a custom build
by jconner / April 8, 2007 11:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Cyberpowerpc

they will make recommendations. You can buy cases without supplies - call and ask if you are doing a custom build. Most (but not all) powersupplies are the same physical size so generally it is not an issue. Depending on the case the P/S cable lengths may be an issue so be sure and ask.

Also generally the more you put into a computer system the more power consumption is required. If this is to be a gaming computer and you have lights that blink and highend video cards and multiple hard and optical drives than go with a bigger supply. Most seem to be happy with 550W and up. More expensive means better. A $150 550W is better than a $39 650W. It will last longer and the power will be more stable. As mentioned previously Tom's hardware is a great place to look at comparisons.

Good luck.

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